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Race Day Four 10-22-00 Buttonwillow
Click on any photo for a larger image

This is the last race of the season, and my last chance to get the hang of the spirit of the system and becoming part of the group. This is going to be more of a story than a photo page so hang in there and read about the experience of club road racing!!

3:30 AM I dropped Kathy off at the bus connection at the Sonoma County Airport for her ride to San Francisco International Airport. She's taking a well-deserved vacation to visit her Mom and family in Oklahoma. After good byes I was off to pick up Dave, drive over to Terry's and head down to Buttonwillow.

We towed four motorcycles down, Wink's TL1000R (Looking for 3rd place overall in his class), The two VTR 250's and my little Ninjette 250. The rig setup was a little different this time. Our NEW RKA Funmover had blown a wristpin and was receiving a new motor. The RKA van did not have enough seating, so Terry was towing our trailer with his BIG FORD DESIEL big cab pickup. No other vehicle as ever towed an RKA trailer since we have been in business, 15 years. So I was a little nervous at first but Terry pasted the test when I dozed off for 40 winks ;-)

Got on the road at about 4:30 AM, we came into Buttonwillow Friday at about 10:30AM for half day of open practice. Terry was the only one to take advantage of the 75 dollar half day practice. Dave was sicker than a dog, and I have had more tracktime here than anywhere else, plus I was nursing a slipping clutch (just what you need on a 30 hp motorcycle ;-) ) through this last race. So I decided to do some clocking and just generally hang out.
At left is our fancy pit setup. ;-)
For a 250 production bike to win a race here you have to turn a 2:10 or better, to be in the lead group you need to turn 2:17 or better. I was turning 2:28's during Club Desmo trackdays under "no pressure" conditions so I was looking to do a little better, especially since Terry and Dave were looking at 2:20's for a goal. ;-). I clicked off a 2:26 right off the bat and got it down to 2:24's by the end of practice! I was very happy. Problem was Dave and Terry clicked off a 2:17 each in their practices!!! Wow for novices these guys are rocking!

Here is Terry changing oil for me and repairing the broken linkage mentioned below.

After practice there was "Corner Worker Appreciation Day" We had a nice dinner and gifts were given away to the hard working corner works (If you would like to be a corner worker let me know, they need more help!). RKA made 60 medium waist packs with the "AFM" logo on them for all the workers. These folks do a tremendous amount of work and are right there if you need them and after the race wave and make you feel like you won a GP rather than just the back marker I am. ;-)
Sunday we are in the first race 500 twins, since getting the VTR250 Terry is now consistently beating up on Dave ;-) The race start was a thrill with 40 bikes going into turns one and two!!! Wow I learned a lot on these starts!! Take NO prisoners, get a position!! or be a "back marker" right off the bat!! Now next year I have to apply that thought ;-)

Terry finished 19th with a best time of 2:17.7 !!!!, Dave was right behind him in 20th turning a best lap of 2:17.9!! what a duo!! I finished by best ever position in 24th and turned my best time of the weekend with a 2:23.2.

Where was my riding partner Racergirl #718 "Jer"? She finished 31st and her best time was 2:31, I am not sure what happened here because she has always been as fast as me. There are only three things I can think of. 1) I have a lot of track time here. I am improving and felt comfortable, 2) Racergirl was having a bad weekend, 3) I have tied onto the rear end of "YODA" ;-) In the name of Jack Walshe #88, my new riding buddy!!

This is a really NEAT guy. His is big (bigger than me), he is FAST (faster than me), he has a good outlook on life! All I have heard about from Dave and Terry is, if you can keep up with Jack you are doing ok! Well I tried to keep up. ;-) In practice on Saturday we got together and had a BLAST. Being a little lighter I had him under power but in
the turns he is amazing! I followed him for some time and watched his every move. At one point going through the
"bus stop" I got it leaned over a little to much on the exit and SLAMMED my gear shift lever onto the candy strips searing of the linkage !! It was a rush to lean over to the right for the high speed "Bowl" and there was no shifter there!!! It was the last lap and I came in and tried to find help.

Dave and Terry can only do so much and they are both on VTR250's!! Am I out for the weekend?! I rush over to Jack who I have only had causal chit chat with and asked for help. Although he rides a VTR also, he introduced me to Lisa (an RKA Customer), she pulled out a bag with every spare part you could want!!! She gave me the shifter linkage and said return it next time (That's next year!!) What a gal!!

There has been something special at the track lately, a strange beast in a strange class, "Super Dinosaur", This 1982 CBX as so much done to I cannot begin to tell you. What I can tell you is Gary Jaehne finished 2nd on this beast turning a 2:08 !!! UNBELIVABLE!! The fun part was the Dinosaurs started behind us in the 500 twins race. So guess what? Yeah! What a RUSH to have the "Super Dinosaur" winner, a 1985 Yamaha FZ750 come screaming by, THEN … right on his ass is Gary with all six cylinders screaming!!! WooooW! They passed me going into the bus stop and it was a thrill!!

Well back to Sunday and race three. Wink is racing open twins (TL1000R) and only needed a fourth place finish to secure 3rd place in the standings for the year. He did it!! A nice solid fourth place turning a 2:00 lap in the process!!

On to race six. Which is "Formula Pacific" THE fast guys. James Randolph Jr one of the fasted AMA riders and local Santa Rosa friend, ran away with the win turning a heart stopping 1:51 in the process!!! I believe this shattered the track record and was riding a virtually stock GSXR750!!!. On Saturday James allowed me to put the video camera on this bike during practice!!! WoooooooooooooooW!!! What a trip, I may post a short video clip so stay tuned.
This is the fastest you will see a two-wheel vehicle go around Buttonwillow!!!

This is the peanut gallery ;-)

Race seven the reason we came ;-) 250 production. Again Terry beats up on Dave finishing 17th with a best lap of 2:17. to Dave's 18th place and a best lap of 2:19. Me? At least I am consistent. I got a KILLER start getting ahead of Jack Walshe!!! I was running in 20th place and I knew this was my best ever and I also knew Jack was on my ass without even having too look back!! It took him four of the six laps to finally put me away! That took the wind out of me and I got passed by #159 Raymond and then (NEVER LOOK BACK!!), I looked back on the exit of the last turn and got beat by Jim Race by a WHEEL!! for 23rd !!! Jim had really picked up his pace because I thought he was WAY back! Guess I was wrong huh? BUT I finished 24th for my best finish ever!! My best lap was a 2:24 a second slower than the 500 twins race.
I was actually sliding the rear in turns 2, 3A and the high speed rise of turn 8B. Although I was getting used to the faster pace this sliding thing apparently slowed me down in the entrances of those turns being the whinny that I am ;-) BUT wait tell next year!!

At left is the announcers booth ;-). They are doing a lot of building to the track. Next year it will be finished. ;-)

There is one more person I need to mention, Mr Gary Rather of "Gary Rather Photography". Him and his wife spend all day in the hot sun trying to get photos of ALL the riders. This is a really neat service and I have purchased some great photos of me looking much better than I really am!! Thanks Gary. ;-) Click on his logo to visit his website.

Below are the group shots of the 250 production riders. I do not think any other class does this so you can see there is a little family atmosphere in the killer racer inviorment also. ;-) Yup there are a lot of women riding in this class AND other classes.
I Have had a great time with this endeavor and am looking forward to next year. If you want to continue to hear about Capt Ninja and his exploits please drop me a line so I know someone else is reading this other than me ;-)
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